Published: 7 February 2022

Was Jesus Sacrificed On Mount Moriah?

Sacrificed On Mount Moriah
Image from ESV Study Bible

According to 2 Chronicles 3:1, Solomon built the first temple on Mount Moriah. As we noted in the previous post, some people confuse Mount Moriah with the mountain where Isaac was bound. As we noted, there is zero scriptural support to conclude that Isaac was bound at the site of the future temple. This conflation has led some people to assert that Jesus was sacrificed on Mount Moriah. 

It is true that His crucifixion was near Mount Moriah, but we can be sure it didn’t take place on Mount Moriah. If the crucifixion were on Mount Moriah His cross would have been on the Temple Mount. The New Testament is clear that His crucifixion happened outside the city (Jn 19:20, Heb 13:12). Since the Temple Mount (aka Mount Moriah) was inside the city walls, we can be confident the sacrifice of Jesus didn’t happen there. Besides this, it would have been unthinkable to the Jews to conduct a crucifixion in the sacred temple precincts.

Theology, not geography

The important connection between Jesus and Isaac is not geography. It is the theological connections between Isaac and Jesus that should grab our attention. There are a number of parallels between Isaac and Jesus that are too interesting not to take notice of.

Surprisingly, no New Testament author ever makes a comparison between Jesus and Isaac. What should this omission signal to us? Perhaps the New Testament authors thought the parallels too obvious to be worth mentioning. Maybe the connections weren’t pertinent to the problems the early church faced and therefore it never made it into the letters. For all we know the early Christians talked frequently about this connection and the discussion just never made it into the New Testament writings. 

A hint of things to come

Regardless, this event was a foreshadowing of things to come. God provided a substitutionary sacrifice which took the place of Isaac: 

And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. (Gen. 22:13 ESV)

This leads Abraham to name the site:

So Abraham called the name of that place, “The LORD will provide”; as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” (Gen. 22:14 ESV)

Abraham’s confidence in God was absolute. He now knew beyond any doubt that God will make provisions for His people and He keeps His promises. This led to a later saying, “On the mount of the LORD it shall be provided.” What is “it?” What was it that God would provide? Some say this is a prophecy about Christ’s sacrifice. The “it” may refer to the sacrifice of Jesus which God provided.

The connection between Isaac and Jesus is probably more concrete that we may realize. There is a mysterious character present in this story referred to as “the angel of the LORD” (Gen 22:11, 15). Who was this angel and what clues does the Bible give us about his identity? More about this in the next post.